Rupert Clark Stakes Day Recap

It took a nervous wait but Trust in a Gust delivered for favourite backers after a thrilling finish in the Rupert Clark Stakes at Caulfield on Sunday

A super Sunday of racing delivered some superb action at Caulfield on an 8 race card for the Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes Day. The Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes was race 7, giving Punters and experts time to get their eye in. The betting odds were in favour of Trust in a Gust, a favourite at $6 in an open field for the Group One Handicap and punters that did trust in him were rewarded, despite a nervous finish and a long wait. The 1400 metre sprint was run and won in 1 minute and 23 seconds but a photo finish followed by a protest meant the Victorian Owners and Breeders Incentive Scheme horse of the year Trust in a Gust wasn’t officially declared the winner till sometime after the race.

A Thrilling Finish

Trust in a Gust was in splendid form heading into the race and pushed forward from barrier 9 once the gates opened. He found himself towards the front of the field and Jockey Damian Lane settled his horse close to the speed set by Sistine Demon. But after moving into second by the final bend, Lane then threw out the challenge, driving Trust in a Gust to the lead early in the straight. It was a race in 2 by the 300 metre mark with multiple group one winner Dissident emerging from the pack. Trust in a Gust remained ahead with 100 metres go before the top weight edged in front. But as Dissident laid in in the final stages the bottom weight who was 6 kilograms better off than his rival rallied, as the pair bobbed heads all the way to the post. A Photo finish saw the judges declare Trust in a Gust the winner by a short half head margin while Dissident’s big weight cost her a third Group One in a row. The Chris Waller trained Bull Point charged home for third just under 2 lengths away.

The Protest

Celebrations were put on hold with Dissident’s jockey launching a second versus first protest immediately after the event. Ben Melham alleged interference early in the race, claiming Lane had crossed him without being clear and took his running which forced him to ease for four or five strides. Under a big weight of 58kilograms, Melham was adamant this proved costly to his chances; however Trust in a Gust trainer Darren Weir and jockey Lane believed the incident had zero bearing on the result and that another runner had dictated Lane’s line. Stewards agreed stating both horses had their opportunity and the protest was dismissed.


Having survived a heart pounding finish and a protest it was finally time for connections to party. For Western Australian Lane it was his maiden group one. The jockey’s who’s been based in Melbourne for 3 years believed he was due.

“It’s a great relief,” he said of his first Group One.

A milestone too for the trainer, Weir who’s won four Group One races in South Australia finally winning the same calibre event in Melbourne.

“I’ve had a heap of placings. It’s great to get the monkey off the back,” Weir said.

While Down Syndrome Victoria also had reason to rejoice after picking up a cheque for $20,000 thanks to Trust In A Gust’s win. Melbourne Racing Club declared Sunday’s race day Charity Day, and each runner in the Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes was allocated a local charity.

Best of the Rest

Bring me the Maid was well backed to win the Thousand Guineas Prelude, but she failed to fire in the Group 3 1400-metre race for three-year-old fillies. Afleet Espirit produced a professional performance to beat the field home and trainer David Hayes believes she’ll be a force in the 1600 metre Group One Thousand Guineas. But Rich Enuff stormed into favouritism for that race on October 11, after blitzing his rivals in the Group Two Caufield Guineas Prelude on Sunday. The Colt was drawn out wide but a brilliant performance saw Jockey Michael Rod ride the horse to a 2 and a half length victory. Rich Enuff looked to have plenty left and trainer Ken Keys believes’ the step up to 1600 metres is unlikely to phase the colt. Target in Sight was another victor on Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes Day, taking out the $120,000 Listed Testa Rossa Stakes.